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thBack on June 10 I published a post updating the progress on “Your Playbook For Tough Times.” In the past eight weeks the work has morphed yet again. In fact, it’s become two books.

Neither of which, unfortunately, are yet available for purchase.

How is it possible that two months have passed without my hitting “publish”? As they say on Facebook, it’s complicated.

 


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th-1On the back cover of “Live Your Life For 1/2 The Price,” prolific personal finance author Mary hunt perfectly sums up my feelings about frugality:

“It’s the money you don’t spend that ultimately gives you the freedom to live the life you love.” 

You tell ’em, girl.

Hunt, who’s written a couple of dozen books and created the Debt Proof Living program and the Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate website, gives readers the tools to do things like reduce costs, get control of spending, avoid fees, retire the mortgage off early and pay a fair sum for the right car. And she does it with her trademark humor, compassion and pragmatism.

In other words, she’s fun to read and she knows what it’s like to be in debt — boy, does she know! — but she won’t let you off the hook for any of it. Instead, she’ll throw you a lifeline.

 


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thOur house smells of smoke thanks to a wildfire just south of town. The recent unusually sunny and warm weather has left the area ready to burn.

The linked video above shows an uninhabited, mountainous area. Unfortunately the blaze is spreading toward a part of town with wonderful homes – and no utility infrastructure.

That’s the trouble with living in an isolated area: Even if fire trucks can get up there, they can use only the water they brought with them.

Residents are packing their bug-out bags and creating what the fire folks call “defensible spaces” around their homes (e.g., removing trees and mowing down brush) and everyone’s sort of on tenterhooks. I expect even the atheists are praying for a downpour right about now.

Down here on the flats I’m feeling sad for anyone in the fire’s path and also experiencing a bit of survivor’s guilt. Our house lot is mostly treeless; if fire broke out in tree-heavy areas nearby, we have two hose hookups that would let us squirt out any embers that blew our way.

Thanks to the city water system we’d have a steady supply. One of us could be on the ground watching for hot spots and the other on the roof to protect the shingles. Since this is a one-story house it would be a simple scramble up the ladder; DF does this every year when he sweeps the chimney.

Right now I’m praying (for real) for rain.

 


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th-1Saw the “Ghostbusters” reboot on Friday and laughed quite a bit, especially at the antics of Kate McKinnon. While she didn’t actually steal every scene in which she appeared, McKinnon certainly borrowed some of them without permission.

The woman is damned funny. Since we don’t have a television, I’ve never seen her work on “Saturday Night Live” or “The Big Gay Sketch Show.” I might go see the movie again just to watch her. (The others were great, too.)

As for the fanboy bro-haha about the reboot being a heretical sacrilege against all that’s good and holy about dude films, all I can say is “Grow up.” Movies get rebooted all the time. You either go see them or you refuse to go see them. What you don’t do is wail about how this has ruined your childhood.

Seriously. Some guys, and maybe some gals, actually say this. If the first 18 years of your life are rendered meaningless by a movie remake, I suggest you seek help. Or maybe some anti-hyperbole tablets.

In keeping with my theory that personal finance lessons are where you find them, I went to “Ghostbusters” in full money-geek mode and with a notebook. Here’s what I found.

 


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th-1Take a look at personal finance articles aimed at women. How many of them focus on topics like using coupons, getting the best prices for school clothes and cutting back on our purse collections?

Those are all good things to do. But why aren’t women getting information about building real wealth?

Women make 85 percent of consumer purchases. (Hint: Not all of them are of Jimmy Choo footwear.) Yet they are too often ignored, patronized or marginalized by the financial planning industry.

Kimberly Palmer, author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How To Build Wealth While Raising A Family,” has a friend in that line of work. He told her about a colleague who talked to the husband and referred to the wife in the third person. The wife was sitting right next to her spouse.

That’s why we need books like this one. We do need to worry our pretty li’l heads about money.

 


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